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on March 20, 2013
Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War is worth reading if after 10 years you are interested in knowing why some people believed it was worth killing 190,000 people, (70% civilians) and 4,488 U.S. service members and spending $2.2 trillion of US tax payer money to achieve rather fluid and dubious goals.

National Security Advisor and Secretary of State Condoleezza (first-strike) Rice No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington feels it was a "high honor" and worth that steep price to review Saddam Hussein's transgressions against the international community and against his own people; to inform the world of what she knew about his continuing pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, his support for al-Qaeda terrorism, and his oppression of his own people. Those were the written goals of the National Security Advisor for this debacle called the Iraq War. My only criticism of Hubris, is that it fails to fully describe Ms. Rice's role leading the charge to war. What was the advice of the National Security Advisor?

Many of the same people named in Hubris are still trying to convince us that it was worth it. That is why this book is so important. It is a history of one of the greatest failures of national security that the USA has ever endured.
What is frightening is that the same cast of characters that presided over this failure are still with us and still trying to spin their version of history: Bush, Cheney, Rove, Rice, Rumsfeld. What were the "lessons learned"? Bush says he has: "No regrets." "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien" Now that's Hubris for you.
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on December 23, 2017
Just confirms my thoughts on how corrupt things really are. The only thing that kind of turned me off was the profanity used quite a bit in the book. I know they were quotes but come on.
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This is another book in a long series on the march toward war in Iraq, and the debacle that ensued. It is also one of the best of these volumes.

One key passage lays out the message of this book (page 410): "What had gone wrong? Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Rice and other administration officials had set themselves up by using the most dramatic and forceful rhetoric in persuading the nation that was necessary. They had approached the invasion of Iraq as though it were a political campaign. They pushed aside doubt, they exaggerated, they shared information with the public selectively."

Juxtapose the above quotation with the authors' statement, speaking to the hubris of the Administration in the run up to war (page 15): ". . .Bush, Cheney, and a handful of other senior officials already believed that they had enough information to know what to do about Iraq. . .They were drop-dead sure of their presumptions: Iraq was a danger, Saddam had to go, and war was the only option that would achieve this policy goal. They did not need intelligence to reach these conclusions - or to test them." Their decision to go to war was based, in the end, on (page 17) ". . .unproven, dubious assumptions and sketchy and, in many respects, phony intelligence. But it ultimately rested on a strong core belief: we know what we're doing."

Many of the stories included in this volume are well know, but there is a wealth of detail describing each, with many interviews obviously building the stories. As usual, when dependent on so many sources, one must always know that some of these sources are using their interviews for their own ends. That stated, though, the thrust of observations of this book are so consistent of others that this caveat cannot discredit the overall thrust of the book.

Key stories that come to life here: reporters like Judy Miller serving as mouthpieces of the Administration and, in the process, serving the Administration's needs to persuade the American people that war was necessary; the rationale for going after Valerie Plame Wilson (told in perhaps too much detail, given the many other issues that the book addresses); the use of Ahmad Chalabi as a key source to justify war; the strained theories of Laurie Mylroie trying to convince people that there was a tight, close linkage between Iraq and al-Qaeda (outside of the White House and other conspiracy theorists, her work has not generated much resonance); the strange tale of how an obviously bogus allegation about Iraq seeking yellowcake uranium from Niger came to be in a State of the Union message and become a part of the rationale for war; the tale of how aluminum tubes that were physically incapable of serving in a nuclear program were still judged to be proof of Saddam's nuclear program; the revelation that key Administration personnel--including Condoleezza Rice--never read the full intelligence estimates that revealed the grave doubts about many of the contentions used to justify the war; and so on and so on.

This is a dispiriting book. One can only ask the question: How did so many smart people end up leading the country into a war that seems to stretch into the future, with no certain positive outcomes, on the basis of such flawed information? The authors use the Greek term hubris as takeoff point. Does their argument work? This is an issue for each reader to decide upon. But the more that we learn, the more that it looks like this Administration will be judged harshly in the history books. If so, it is a valuable lesson: pride goeth before the fall; hubris, a classical tragic flaw in Greek drama, leads to a humbling of those so afflicted.
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on November 13, 2017
I got to read this one in little bites ---- because it hits so close to home --- remember all this stuff going on --- and wondering - even back them --- this don't feel right --- Afgan - no problem there - yep - go in and then get the heck out of there ---- but nooooooooo........
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on January 3, 2018
Well researched exposé on Dick Chaney's (and others) illegal rationale for war. Good reading.
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VINE VOICEon December 12, 2006
Michael Isikoff delivers one of the most complete accounts of the Bush administration's incompetence, and exaggerated self-confidence to date. This work may be around as a source book of the Bush presidency and it's pathological legacy.

From the start of this administration, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Perle, Wolfowitz and other neocons were planning to finish what they felt had been a mistake not to since the first Gulf War i.e. the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. This would project American power and influence in the region, and establish a Pax Americana.

First, they needed a reason, which they received after September 11th. Then, they needed to sell it to the American public, which they did through outright lies, finnagling, arm-twisting, deception and leaks. In this they succeeded completely by giving a revenge-minded public direction, and creating a scare campaign. They were aided by a docile press that was not inclined to investigate the disinformation spoon-fed to them.

There was only one thing amiss. They had too much self-confidence and pride, or hubris according to the author. They had the feeling that they could not be wrong, and they would achieve their goals. Unfortunately they were, and they didn't.

This is truly an account of high crimes and deception committed by the highest level of our government. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Perle, Wolfowitz and others deliberately misled this country to war, and continue to deceive to this day. If there is a day of reckoning for them, I hope it will be swift, painful and brutal, and that's not hubris.
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on March 16, 2013
Michael Isikoff has taken the blinders off and given the reader a truth many suspected but secretly hoped couldn't be real. That so many in high places blatantly waged war of "shock & awe" against the innocent is disheartening. To make it worse, they beat their chests almost in tune to the sounds of war guns. I always suspected our President, Geo.W.Bush, was chasing oil for America. Now I know he was nothing but an empty suit, looking to out-do his father, a man who drew a line in the sand and did not capture Saddam Hussein. This was a neo-con war that has erased the lives of thousands of young Americans, crippled thousands more, and left the remains of Iraq's innocent on those same sands. Years later we find ourselves in debt and hated...yet, the architects of this "grand scheme" remain alive, their chests puffed up like the gorillas they are!
Read this if you dare. It's a stunning summation of a sick war.
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on April 30, 2015
A truthful story of how Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld lied to engage Iraq in an unnecessary war. Bush et al lied to the American people and was able to convince those in Congress to vote for a war that could never be won. It is my opinion based upon the facts in this book that Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld should be in prison forever. There were never any WMD or any evidence of WMD in Iraq. Iraq lost millions of innocent men, women and children by Bush's "shock and awe" mantra. At the same time, American lost thousands of soldiers who were told to do a job that simply was not there.

Read this book. It may even open up the eyes of those who defend Bush and others for a war against a country that never attacked the USA.
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on May 23, 2013
Excellent, well researched. A strong case is presented condemning the Bush Administration's march to war. The Administration's incompetence and outright duplicity is presented in a well written, fact based narrative.
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on April 12, 2014
This is a must read. I must admit all throughout the book you will get made and more than sick and disgusted by the lies that the Bush administration (Bush and Cheney) went to in order to go to war. The facts exposing the lies that cost so many nations so many lives and injuries and which has taken our nation to the brink of bankruptcy, will shock you.
The author did a great job in getting the facts together and presented them in a well thought out and easy to follow format. Immediately after seeing the television special hosted by Rachel Maddow on this book I went onto Amazon and ordered it (and although a PRIME member I paid the extra to have it sent NEXT DAY)....I just wanted to read in depth about this as soon as possible.
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